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The Science Behind Beauty Sleep

By: Wendy Jacob - Updated: 14 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Sleep Beauty Nutrition Anxiety Stress

Many will be familiar with the feeling - a late night, difficulty sleeping or too many early mornings, and not only do you feel exhausted but you look rough too! There is no doubt that lack of sleep can affect the way you feel, but does it have any affect on the way you look?

There is no doubt that feeling tired, grumpy and perhaps rushing through the morning rituals will not leave anyone looking their best. But, there are other reasons why lack of sleep can have longer term effects on health and beauty.

The body needs sleep, releasing growth hormone to repair and rebuild the body’s cells. This happens during periods of deep sleep when the body is working hard to rejuvenate tissues through a peak in cell division at around 2am.

Circulatory changes may also affect the skin as the body cools in preparation for sleep, maintains body temperature during the night and returns to normal daytime circulation upon waking. A slight ‘flush’ may be visible on the skin showing that circulation has moved away from the cooler body core.

So what about night creams and treatments promoted specifically for night time use? There is little doubt that a thorough night time routine will benefit a good night sleep and emotional welfare and yes, there is evidence that they may also be more effective when used at night.

Beauty experts agree that it is essential to keep skin protected from the sun by using sun protection during the day and that skin benefits from regular exfoliation and use of moisturisers. A bedtime routine that includes deep cleansing and a suitable night cream will benefit most users. The skin also perspires more during the night so will naturally receive more moisture, plus sleep and lying down shifts the effects of gravity and relaxes facial muscles.

Insufficient sleep and other sleep problems can cause anxiety and depression and this stress can contribute to skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis. Stress inhibits the body’s ability to heal itself affecting the skin and other tissue as well as creating muscular tension which is often held in the upper body – the face neck and shoulders.

Some Tips for a Beautiful Night…

Allow time for a relaxing count down to sleep:

  • A warm bath will raise the body temperature and ease muscle tension.
  • Cleanse and gently exfoliate face and neck and gently massage skin using treatments suitable for night time use.
  • Stretch or massage arms legs and body paying attention to any areas that are tense.
  • Check that the bedroom is slightly cooler than daytime temperature but keep warm when going to bed.
  • Make sure pillows are comfortable and you have sufficient covers to keep you warm during the night – the body will wake if it becomes too warm or cold during the night.
  • Try and relax the mind in preparation for sleep – meditations, relaxing music, some light reading. Try to avoid anything stimulating or that will connect you with the cares and tribulations of the day!
  • Relax! Even if sleep is elusive, relaxation and a peaceful mind will benefit how you feel – and look…
  • Wake, stretch and smile!

Many women start to think seriously about skin care as they grow older. Sleep patterns adapt as we age and hormonal changes affect the body, mind and sleep…This is a time to look at nutritional support, taking sufficient exercise and learning relaxation techniques to encourage a good night’s sleep.

Tips for Beauty Sleep

  • Pillows – some women suggest that silk pillowcase smooth the skin and help prevent wrinkles
  • Dark circles under the eyes? Challenge gravity by using extra pillows and keeping the head higher.
  • Keep a sleep pillow in the fridge and place it over the eyes to help get rid of any puffiness. Alternatively try a used tea bag chilled in the fridge…
  • Massage aromatherapy oils into the skin – lavender will induce sleep.
  • Chamomile, lemongrass and other herbal teas will induce sleep and are good for the skin.

Beauty is subjective but most people will agree that the way you feel about yourself affects the way you look. Vitality, confidence and an independent outlook on life are attributes that we can all aspire to by learning skills that will keep us fit and healthy and better able to cope with the demands of modern life.

Many people are starting to realise that beauty really is more than skin deep and that although creams and other beauty products and treatments have their place, nutrition and sleep also contribute to the way we look.

So, before you are tempted by the promises on another beauty product, try the six week sleep treatment. Adopt the recommendations for improving sleep featured throughout this site and see how these affect the way you feel – and look. Sleep well!

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